The final word

by Marie Duquette

Dear God,

Remember when I prayed to you for the family who had gathered to write victim statements for the judge during the trial for the man who murdered their mother, wife, sister? It was just over one year ago. They were to write about all that would change in their lives now that she would not be present in their home, at their games, in his bed. It was a daunting task, but you gave both me and them the words, and eventually, their pages turned from unblemished to marked.

I ran across that prayer again today and Oh Lord, that specific prayer, for a specific family, now seems to apply to a whole world of people counting the cost of losing loved ones unexpectedly to Covid19.

Here, in the United States, in many ways, it feels like a great portion of the 521,000 parents, siblings, children…teachers, doctors, nurses…artists, clergy, advocates…beloveds…were murdered. Maybe not with bullets and a gun but with negligence, and apathy, and intentional misleading by those who cared more about carnage than cure. Those who profited off those who suffered. Forgive them? For now, Lord, I must leave that to you.

And while I praise your Holy Name that at last we have vaccines and a distribution plan and are anticipating a possible summer of reunions and regatherings; fuller bleachers, and maskless weddings, I can’t quite shake the image of all those who, through eulogies, cards, and books as yet unwritten, will be the ones to count all that we have lost.

And so I pray again Lord, this time with a wider application, commending into your hands all we, the people, have lost…

Lord, we know that trying to articulate and quantify our loss on paper will be a tortuous, painful experience.

We pray it will also begin the process of healing if only to help us take a small portion of our pain and relocate it outside of our bodies.

We pray for courage to begin.

For accompaniment as we look into the rooms of our lives that once contained joy, and are now littered with loss and longing. We pray our accounts will be as complete as we need them to be to heal, and that we will sense your hands guiding our own and binding our hearts in the process.

Our lives are ever-changed. And yet, your love remains. Welcome them all Lord, into that place where tears are no more.

Hold them all, Good Lord, and hold us,

the guilty survivors of a worldwide plague, as well.

All honor and glory are yours, Spirit of Life, for by your grace, the final word is resurrection.

Adaptation of Prayer for a family, January 2020

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